“Homelessness: A Conversation Determined by You,” hosted by KPCC

I went to Skid Row for the first time very recently and couldn’t believe what I saw. The casual bleakness was just overwhelming… The problem of homelessness has been on my mind since moving here and seeing tents and encampments everywhere. Seeing people in living in abject misery among so much apparent wealth. I of course encountered people living on the street in my many years in New York City, but never anything at this scale. I wanted to learn more about the problem. A few weeks ago, I saw the book Our National Disgrace, a collection of Los Angeles Times editorials on homelessness, at Skylight Books and bought it as a sort of introduction to the issue. It’s a quick and fascinating read. But visiting Skid Row, which could just as easily have been the set of some dystopian blockbuster about the future, put me over the edge and lent new urgency to my curiosity. I went looking for more information and found it at KPCC’s panel discussion “Homelessness: A Conversation Determined by You,” September 6 at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at the Japanese American National Museum. It was brilliant. We were able to hear from people who do outreach, who lead organizations that assist the homeless, from developers, from a tenant organizer, from the mayor’s office. There were people in the audience concerned about shelters being built in their neighborhood, and people who wanted to help. Many viewpoints, a lot of information. And a sense of hope.